Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kiam Chye Buoy Recipe

I have been asked by some friends and bloggers alike to share this simple recipe which is one of the available options when dealing with leftover roasts of any kind and being in the theme of the season, the leftover of choice used in this recipe is none other than Turkey!

Word of caution though, the proportion is strictly guess-timation since my mother was giving me instructions over the phone. Also a note for those trying, apparently you’re supposed to boil the aromatics first before putting in the carcass but I was on the way home last night and just told JJ to go ahead and fill up my stock pot with water and drop the turkey it and by the time I got home [1 ½ hours later], I had a flavorful broth going.

Side story though which just makes me shake my head and giggle… for those of you who don’t know my fiancĂ© JJ, he is as ‘white’ as you can get, his father is American and mother is English so whenever I experiment in the kitchen with my Malaysian/Asian cooking, he just scrunches up his nose and chuckles about me cooking my mumbo-jumbo ‘jungle’ cuisine… you’d think having spent a couple of years in the vast Peruvian jungles, he’d know what jungle food is! :)

Anyways, back to the funny story, I tell him to fill up the stock pot with filtered water and drop the turkey in when it starts boiling and before I hung up, I just thought that I better make sure that my instructions were clear and kind of kidded that he should remember to remove the FOIL the turkey was wrapped in… let me just say that lucky thing I said that or else I would have come home to a pot of boiled foil-wrapped carcass! Silly boy!

Alright, back to the recipe;

Kiam Chye Buoy [Hot-Sour-Spicy Mustard Greens Soup]

½ turkey carcass [we don’t eat dark meat so together with half of the body, I included one drumstick and wing, probably totaled 2 pounds]

Aromatics
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
5 pieces dried tamarind slices [assam keping]
20 dried red chillies
20 cili padi split [because I like it HOT! Feel free to omit or lessen quantity]
Golf ball sized tamarind pulp mixed with 1 cup water, strained and discard seeds and pulp
1 pack preserved mustard

Vegetable
3 lbs of Chinese mustard [not sawi, sure what it’s called in Chinese, I’ll check when I get home tonight], washed thoroughly and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
Optional – Leftover ju-hu char [stir fried jicama with cuttlefish]
1 tomato – cut into wedges

Instructions:
1. Fill stock pot till ¾ full with filtered water, boil.
2. Add all aromatics, bring to boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. Taste to ensure sourness level is okay, if not, add more tamarind pulp water.
3. Add carcass and allow to simmer for 1 ½ hours or so.
4. Add saltiness, hotness [with bird’s eye chillies] or sourness [with tamarind pulp water]
5. Add fresh vegetables and simmer till desired tenderness.
6. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Love...

This is a sentimental post, reminiscing the early days when JJ and I were still dating... this was one of the very first piece of poetry he wrote me. One of the many reasons why I love him is because he pays attention to the little things in life that makes every day so special. Mom, I bet you've never seen this side of your huh eh?? :) [He's SO going to kill me!]

The beauty of your soul
Your magnificent innocents
That child like laugh
It makes you who you are

You fill me with wonder
Until I think I will burst
My heart you have captured
You are heaven on earth

The birds, they sing a jealous tune
When you walk the land beneath the moon

The stars, they cry their yellow tears
The Lords greatest creation they know is here

The trees, they sigh when your presence is felt
For comfort they find in your endless well

How can I, a mere mortal man
Be so bold as to want your hand
So flawed and jaded from history past
I ask forgiveness and your love to last

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving this year was somewhat odd... it is the first year that it was just the both of us, last year, we had a housefull of people, with my parents and brother visiting from Malaysia and Jonathan's mother and her husband coming in from Savannah, GA... we also had several neighbors who did not have family nearby to spend Thanksgiving with, we always try to invite people who are alone over the holidays to share it with us because I can only imagine how awful it must be to not have anyone to share the holidays with!

In any case, I was not to be detered, I wanted to keep the tradition going even if it were just the two of us! As with last year, my planning/timing was horrendous, dinner was served at 6 pm! I cooked a 11 pound turkey with apple and sage sausage dressing, potato gratin and apple pie for dessert, since it was only the 2 of us, I did not bother too much with balancing the ratio of carbs/protein/fiber etc :). It all turned out yummy but since I am not a fan of turkey, we had tonnes of leftover... I already have plans to make kiam chye buoy [hot-sour soup with mustard greens] with the turkey carcass... yummy! :)



Food talk aside, Thanksgiving has always been a time of reflection and gratitude for me, a time to recap the year's events and to remind myself of the bountiful blessings I have been showered with. I am guilty of allowing the business of career and daily living to put me into auto-pilot and I sometimes forget to take the time out of life to think about all the beautiful things in life and to be thankful for them because if I did it more often, I think I would realize how fortunate I really am. I sometimes catch myself in the midst of grumbling during early morning rush hour just really notice how beautiful Nashville is, especially where we live as there is lush greenery in abundance everywhere and with the brilliant crimson/gold/bronze everything is during the autumn, it seems to be picture perfect.

I am very thankful for the love of my fiancé which in itself is so complete and all encompassingand is based on honesty, equality, intellectualism, romance and playfulness.

I am very thankful that I am able to love and that the love is returned to me.

I am very thankful that I am healthy and that the people I love are healthy.

I am very thankful that I have dreams to follow and goals to strive for.

I am very thankful for the beauty of nature - magnificent hills, the colorful leaves, the smell of jasmine in our front yard, the setting sun, the beautiful harvest moon

Everywhere I look I see the wonders of nature and I feel so proud to be a small part of it

I am very thankful for all the good people in the world

I am very thankful that I have good friends

I am very thankful to be alive in a time when we can make the world a better place to live in

Ah… life, it truly many splendid things!

I hope that each and every one of you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Here at last...

Warmest greetings and welcome to my brand new online haven.

I have been giving this a considerable amount of thought for a while and decided to go ahead and do this so that I can share our lives with all our family and friends who are spread out all over the country and overseas. In addition to this, I think this is an excellent means of capturing my thoughts and life experiences. Hopefully, if we're to be richly blessed, our future children will be able to look into our lives before them :)

The webpage address of choice stems from the story of my life to date and in order to capture the emotion behind it, I am going to share something I wrote during the Thanksgiving season two years ago.

"As I sit here in my little home, I look out the window and wonder what happened to the beautiful maple tree which once proudly stood there with its leaves ablazed in its magnificent crimson glory… now, it is almost bare and solitary looking, I sure wouldn’t want to be that tree, all stripped of its crowning glory and left bare to the harsh elements of the fast approaching winter season… I feel sad for it, but I know the stillness of winter holds a promise of such unimaginable abundance come spring time…

I guess that is how I see my life to be... I have to remind myself that I cannot judge the rest of my life based on only one season. Many people have asked me how do I even function after having to face such heartbreaking challenges and all that comes to mind is what someone very dear to me once said... that if I give up during the harsh winter season, that I shall miss the promise of my spring, the beauty of my summer and the fulfillment of my fall. I want to believe that the essence of who I am, the pleasure, joy and love that come from this life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up."

So here I am, with a head full of dreams, heart full of hope, soul full of faith... all excited to continue the journey of life and see what the future unfolds... to quote Shakespeare, "To unpathed waters, undreamed shores".

And so it is.

So again, welcome friends, please kick off your shoes, get comfy and let the sharing begin.